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Marriott International / beware

1 United States
Contact information:

Our employee booked a room for a federal conference with Marriott Tucson University Park. When he arrived he was told that the government rate was only available to federal government employees and the military; we are a county government employer. I called the Tucson Marriott office tried to talk to them about this matter offering to fax them confirmation of his government employment immediately. The clerk maintained that he was not a federal employee and therefore not eligible. Realizing that this was going to go nowhere fast I decided to deal with the problem through Marriott's customer care and had every expectation that the complaint would be resolved to our satisfaction.

I wrote to customer care detailing my problem and received a scathing email back for the Tucson property telling me that my employee is responsible for federal and military personnel not being able to stay at Marriott. This is the email:

I received your comments from Marriott Customer Care regarding Government rates at the Marriott University Park Hotel, Tucson, Arizona. We do offer, as do all Marriott hotels, based on availability, a Federal Per Diem Government Rate. Reservations can be made either on line or through our 800# reservations centres. When the reservations are made it is very clear, both on line and verbally, that to qualify for the Federal Rate you must be employed by the Federal Government and provide Federal ID at the time of check-in. If an individual makes a reservation under the Federal Per Diem Program and is not employed by the Federal Government they would not receive the Federal rate at the time of check-in, as they are not employed by the Federal Government. Unauthorized reservations keep’s authorized Federal Employees from staying with us, in particular our men and women serving in our Armed Forces. I fail to understand why someone not employed by the Federal Government should get that rate. If they for some reason assumed that other rate categories/programs applied, such as State, City and County, they were incorrect. Each entity must stand on its own merit and they are not part of the Federal or Marriott program. The guidelines are quite clear as to who qualifies for the Federal Government and Marriott Hotels Per Diem Rate Program.

We certainly appreciate you and your associates staying at Marriott Hotels and look forward to being of service in the future.

I emailed back and suggested that he read Marriot's own policy about government rates which showed that local and county government are eligible, not just federal government, I inserted a link to the policy. I again received a response with the offer that he would send me the list of who was eligible (I found during all of this that government employers can be pre-approved and I am assuming this is in response to this type of problem. I am copying his email response to this form.

I just reviewed the list I have as to who qualifies for the Federal Government Per Diem Program. I do not see anywhere on the list the blanked out Authority. If you would share that with me I would be happy to assist. I could also fax to you the list of qualification guidelines and the various Federal government agencies that do qualify. Thank you

After some email sparring I finally copy/pasted the string of obnoxious email to customer care and asked that they please deal with the problem themselves.

I found that Customer Care would not even entertain another side to this story and here is their initial email:

We have reviewed Mr. Thompson's reservation and the hotel's response, and we concur with the hotel's decision. The Federal Government rate requires proper identification to be presented at check-in and since the appropriate identification was not presented the hotel adjusted the rate and the rate change will remain. We regret any disappointment this may cause.

For your convenience I have noted the following government travellers are eligible for the Federal Government rate:

- Civilian federal government employees

- Active military personnel

- Federally Funded Research & Development Corporations (FFRDC)

- Canadian government and military

Valid forms of identification for the Federal per diem include the following:

- Federal Government-issued credit card

- Federal Government picture identification card (�CAC� card)

- Military picture identification card

- Travel Orders

- FFRDC identification card (picture or non-picture)

If we can be of further assistance, we invite you to reply to this message

I responded again with a link to their own policy and received the following:

Thank you for contacting Marriott. We appreciate your feedback regarding this matter.

As previously stated in order to be eligible for government discount rates, guests must be an active duty member of the military or current employee, of any level of local, county, state, or federal government within the United States. Supporting credentials will be required at the time that the guest checks in to the hotel.

Unfortunately, none of the proper credentials listed on the website could be provided by Mr. Thompson. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

This is a huge departure from their prior email where they listed only federal and military employees and since Mr. Thompson was told he couldn't use his ID he didn't get a chance to.

But suddenly having admitted that the rate is available to all government employees at any level from local through federal. They have gone back to blaming the problem on the fact that our employee could not produce proof. We tried to do just that not understanding that what we could supply would never been enough because of the misunderstanding of their policies.

Having revisited the website this particular hotel has now changed their website to include that only federal government employees are eligible. Several of our staff members saw the website before this change was made.

I have been a Marriott gold member for some time and suggested that my employees use Marriott, none of us ever will again. I am amazed that they are willing to lose customers over something so petty that in fact was because of their own ignorance. I received an email from posting this complaint on another forum:

I read your recent comments to Marriott customer Care regarding the website for Marriott Tucson and the Federal rate program. This website has been standard for Marriott Hotels through out the United States. The hotel cannot change the criteria on the Web and I assure you the guidelines and words have not been changed, this is standard for all Marriott’s. The Federal Program instituted by Marriott Corporation follows the Guidelines and criteria set by the Federal Government. We appreciate your staying with us and look forward to being of service to you in the future.

Joe Armbrust

General Manager

Marriott University Park Hotel

Tucson, AZ

This guy should do himself a favour and just admit what they did because this is not finished yet. Marriott owes us money and since it is taxpayer’s money we would like reimbursement.


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